Wave watch on for Aikau surf tournament

Dec. 2, 2011 at 1:40 PM
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HALEIWA, Hawaii, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The wait for waves began Friday for the Eddie Aikau, the penultimate tournament for big-wave surfers on Hawaii's North Shore.

Surf at the fame Waimea Bay was running 6-10 feet Friday, about half of the minimum 20-foot height required to get the competition under way.

Kelly Slater and defending champion Greg Long lead the elite roster of surfers invited to the event, which is formally known as the Quicksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau but is known in surfing circles as "The Eddie."

The Eddie has been held only eight times in the past 27 years and will run from Dec. 1 to Feb. 29, depending on conditions.

A Hawaiian priest presided over Thursday's opening ceremony. Billy Mitchell told the crowd gathered on the sand the spirit of Aikau, who was lost at sea in 1978, remains an inspiration and predicted "there will be waves."

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